Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022

When Untitled Goose Game finally sees a physical release later this year (after a very successful digital launch last year), it will also see the debut of a new line of “eco-packaging” that publisher iam8bit says is “hope[s] leads an entire industry into the future.”

Iam8bit’s so-called “Lovely Edition” release of the game will be the first PS4 title to eschew the standard plastic Blu-ray DVD cover in favor of a cardboard box made with “100% post-consumer, heavy-duty recycled content.” 20-pt stock and no harmful ink.” The packaging also uses a biodegradable plastic shrink wrap called biolefin, which, according to the manufacturer, breaks down into biomass after just one to three years, instead of the usual 300 to 600.

The eco-friendly decisions also extend to what’s inside the game box. A booklet and fold-out poster included with the package get their paper from sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council so that the wood “comes from only the most well-managed and environmentally responsible forests,” as iam8bit puts it. And the included “No Goose” sticker is made from sugarcane waste, which the company assures us is completely biodegradable, but not as tasty as it sounds.

A year in the making

Creating a paper box that met the standards of collectible gamers was a challenge that took a year of iteration, according to iam8bit. “To be accepted by consumers, it wasn’t enough that it was a kinder approach to our planet,” iam8bit co-owner Jon Gibson told Ars. “The packaging had to be what everyone is used to – it shouldn’t look cheap or flimsy. It had to feel premium and elegant and above all, substantial.”

That was harder than you might expect, Gibson said, because “most recycled and sustainably sourced raw materials are a bit weaker.” To ensure quality, iam8bit has subjected prototype boxes to what it calls a handheld “squeeze test” to make sure “not only does it feel structurally sound, but when you put pressure on it, it doesn’t buckle. It holds up tight.” and strong.”

Due to supply chain constraints, Gibson said that sourcing those high-quality recycled materials in an eco-friendly manner “isn’t as easy as ordering stacks of paper from Amazon Prime for next-day delivery.” The limited number of factories that make eco-compliant paper and ink are currently “located only in certain regions and have limited production capacity,” he said.

“It’s counterintuitive to move raw materials around the world if you’re trying to be environmentally conscious, because one of the other goals here is to minimize the carbon footprint of production and at best make production carbon neutral.” to make .”

Controlling costs and leading by example

The decision to be environmentally conscious is not a free one. The PS4 version of iam8bit’s eco-friendly “Lovely Edition” retails for $35, or $5 more than a standard-packaged version from Skybound Games.

Iam8bit co-owner Amanda White said the specific production costs of this new type of packaging strongly depend on the size of the production run. For a small order of 10,000 pieces, the total packaging cost is about twice as high as normal. However, for a larger run, costs could only increase 10 to 20 percent from baseline, she said.

That’s part of why iam8bit hopes its packaging efforts will serve as a statement leading to a “domino effect of change” across the industry. White said iam8bit’s smaller size allows it to take nimble risks that could help the company serve “as a guiding light for [console makers]which by their nature and size simply cannot move that fast (which we fully understand).”

To further propagate these kinds of changes, consumers will likely have to make noise and vote with their wallets. “Although people may mean well, unfortunately commerce can be just as loud as the voices of the community,” Gibson said. “So the trick is to show the world that not only do customers think eco-friendly packaging is a good idea, but they actually prefer it in their purchasing behaviour… If there is enough demand, supply will increase, [then] we’ve reached a tipping point where eco-friendly materials are actually cheaper than the polluting ones.”

“Right now the imbalance is that making something eco-friendly is akin to eating vegan, it’s just more expensive,” he continued. “But ultimately, as happens with veganism, the more people adopt that lifestyle, the more cost-effective it becomes, and we all benefit from that.”

Economic costs aside, right now “the cost savings at the level of one’s conscience is immeasurable,” White said. “Companies can choose to invest in eco-friendly packaging elements (or the entire packaging) of all physically produced titles in the future. Let’s make the eco-approach to physical games the norm rather than the exception. Those who can, should should!”

By akfire1

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